Cycling Two Abreast

Cyclists are allowed to cycle two abreast!

Rule 66 states you should never cycle more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads.

This means cycles are perfectly legal to cycle side by side on most roads in the UK. Obviously some common sense needs to be used to work out if and when cyclists need to single out to let cars overtake but on the majority of UK roads cycling 2 abreast is allowed. Usually a group of cyclists will shout forward that a car is waiting ("Car Up") and if the road is too narrow for the car to pass the group safely while they are two abreast they will single out. However, if there is enough room but there are oncoming cars preventing the overtake the group will probably not single out.


Why do motorists get annoyed by cyclists two abreast?

There are many reasons why motorists tend to get annoyed so here are a few that I know of:

  • They think it's harder to overtake
  • They think it's illegal
  • They think it's dangerous in general
  • They think it means cyclists are not paying attention to the road


So why do cyclists cycle two abreast?

There are many reasons why cyclists choose to cycle two abreast so I'll give you the reasons that I know of.

It's Safer!

Simply put, it's safer for cyclists to ride two abreast, it means that motorists usually have to overtake in a proper manner rather than overtaking in the same lane as the cyclists. If a group of cyclists are in single file, motorists will often assume they can overtake in places which are not safe and will not leave the cyclist enough room. Motorists should give cyclists the same amount of room they would give another car when overaking (please see the Overtaking Cyclists page for more details) which means they should be on the other side of the road and would have to wait until there are no oncoming cars. Being in two files usually forces this scenario but riding in single file can lead the motorist to think they can overtake on the same side of the road if there are oncoming cars thus not giving the cyclist the correct amount of space.

It allows motorists to overtake quicker!?!

Riding two abreast also allows the motorist to overtake the group of cyclists quicker as there is less distance between the front and rear of the group (about half!!). This means that the motorist is past the group in less time, spending less time on the other side of the road and along side the group of cyclists and therefore safer all round.

For those that cannot understand this, here is an illustration:


So presuming that the car needs to give the cyclists the same space as another car (again see Overtaking page), there being one or two lines shouldn't matter in terms of distance needed to pull out to the right but two lines decreases the distance for which the car is performing the overtaking manoeuvre and therefore the time which to complete it making it safer all round.

It's sociable!

Cyclists out for a long ride will have a much more enjoyable ride if they have someone to talk to, and enjoying the ride is the main point of the ride for most. Most cyclists prefer to have someone to chat with but this does not mean that they are not riding safely, most car drivers will talk to their passengers and this is not regarded as unsafe driving! 

379 comments:

  1. One thing you've missed here is it's a lot easier to get past a single file column of cyclists on a motorbike.

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    1. Motorbike should be as far over as a car would. No special dispensation for future organ donors.

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    2. Motorbikes don't seem to have trouble overtaking cars which take up more space across the road than two lines of cyclists do. If it were a real struggle for the motorbike to overtake (i.e. the road was narrow or busy), most organised groups would single out just as they would for a car.

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    3. When cyclists obey ALL the rules of the road; ie stopping at red lights, not riding on the pavement, etc then they can give motorists grief about how they drive on the road. I am a motorcyclist as well as a car driver, and I can see both sides of the 'safe amount of room' argument, however, if they want to stay safe, cyclists should be twice as aware as any other road user the same as a motorcyclist. When was the last time you saw a cyclist use a 'life saver' check behind???????

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    4. @Gary Smith - I drove back from London last night to Bristol and was overtaken by a motorcyclist. I was doing 70mph so they were speeding. Under your bizarre logic motorcyclists can now no longer give any other road user "grief". And only a few days ago I saw a motorcyclist on a pavement. So you're doubly not allowed to moan.

      For what it's worth I use a 'life saver' check every time I cycle anywhere. When I'm changing lanes, approaching junctions, pulling away from traffic lights (sorry to burst your bubble but not every cyclist runs red lights), about to slow down... But then I've had enough friends knocked off of motorcycles and bicycles to know better.

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    5. @Gary Smith - I am a cyclist (and a driver) and I obey ALL of the rules of the road (because I would like others to do so too), including, as you mentioned it, life-saver checks ALL the time.

      Just because there is a minority of cyclists who behave badly (in the same way that a minority of drivers behave badly, and any other subset of the population) doesn't mean that you can treat ME badly because of their behavior.

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    6. @Gary Smith. How is that an acceptable logic. Just because of some cretins on bicycles not obeying the law you think it is ok to cut cyclists up or overtake us unsafely. I cycle everyday and speaking from the experience of being hit by a car, and needs a lot of stiches in my face as a result. (and before anyone says anything. I WAS wearing a helmet) Car drivers need to learn to respect cyclists just as much as cyclists need to respect the laws of the road!

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    7. I'm a motobiker (and have driven a car) and just recently took to cycling. I have no problem with anyone: motorbiker, car driver or cyclist as long as they are obeying the rules of the road. ALL people including pedestrians should obey the rules of the road when on the road. I have noticed however, that a lot of cyclists in my area (Nottingham) are incredibly reckless putting not only themselves but other road users in danger. In fact just today I saw a cyclist not paying attention at a junction and came within inches of his life. It's such a shame because I also see some cyclists obeying every rule of the road but unfortunately those who don't give us all a bad name.

      Now I hear you saying 'well there are drivers that also don't obey the rules of the road' and I agree. HOWEVER cyclists are incredibly vulnerable on the road, they also do not have insurance or tax and have not taken the appropriate tests that drivers have in order to ensure they know the rules of the road. This means that drivers will probably notice bad behavior from cyclists more than anyone else. In fact I do and sometimes it is hard not to get a little angry at a cyclist who has almost caused me to crash (I have also had this happen by a cyclist swerving across me at a roundabout without any indication) knowing that they have no insurance to cover the damages that may be caused to my motorbike due to their recklessness - if I hit a cyclist on my motorbike I am also guaranteed to come off my bike as well. I would probably fair better due to my protective gear but I have only third party insurance on my bike so it would be ME paying for the damage to my bike.

      I think common sense and a knowledge of the rules of the road is essential as a cyclist. Personally I believe they should also have insurance for both their sakes and other road users but I know that this would be impractical to try and implement.

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    8. The 100,000+ members of British Cycling and the CTC also have 3rd-party liability insurance as part of their membership, many others choose to take out other insurance schemes. Most cyclists pay Vehicle Excise Duty on their family cars (see "ipayroadtax" mentioned earlier). Many have done Cycling Proficiency, Bikeability, or other skills training. Next incorrect argument?!

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    9. @Gary Smith - as others have pointed out, that's a terrible point. Motorists speed, so do motorcyclists, people using all forms of transport break the rules so to say you won't hear any "grief" until all cyclists obey the rules is a massive double standard. Just because a minority of people on bikes choose to break the law, doesn't mean that I should be marginalised as I use the same form of transport as they do.

      Also, personally I check behind when I'm pulling out slightly or coming up to points in the road where it would be handy to know if a car is trying to overtake (e.g. pinch points), not really sure what your point is, just because you've never seen something doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Most cyclists I know now treat cars with a lot of caution due to a number of close calls, some even go as far as to say that you should treat all motorists as if they are trying to kill you, it'll help you anticipate inconsiderate/dangerous drivers.

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    10. @Kirtsy Walton - Again, I'd like to point out that a few people on bikes shouldn't give ME a bad name, just themselves. I'm not sure why sharing a mode a transport means that I should be tarred with their brush. If they choose to endanger themselves, I guess that's their issue but I has nothing to do with me unfortunately, if it was, I would stop them.

      Also, as pointed out, no one pays road tax, council tax is predominantly used to pay for road maintenance, VED goes into the big tax pot just like income tax and I don't believe if I earn more than someone else and therefore pay more income tax that I should have more right to be on the road than they do. Also, 90% of British Cycling members also own cars and therefore pay VED, whilst drivers of hybrids don't pay any. If bicycles were to be included in VED, they would be exempt anyway, they produce no emissions, only the rider emits anything and it's far less than a hybrid which is exempt so logically they would be exempt too. The road tax argument is used very frequently but only by those who have not bothered to look it up.

      Insurance is another one, if a cyclists damages your property (such as your motorcycle or car), they are still liable for the repairs whether they are insured or not, just like a pedestrian. Having insurance covers yourself in that situation and many cyclists are members of BC or clubs which include insurance. I'm not sure why people think if you're not insured you don't have to pay if it's your fault and then project that onto cyclists.

      I do agree with you though that common sense and a knowledge of the rules of the road is essential as a cyclists, but I also think that they are for all road users, the difference being that if a cyclists has no common sense they are far less dangerous than a driver with none.

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    11. @JRAB:
      The difference is that there is a legal requirement for the drivers of motorised vehicle to have passed the relevant test and have at, the very least, 3rd party insurance. Cyclists are not obliged to, and while many may have insurance, there are many that don't.
      If a cyclist were to knock over and seriously injure a young child, to the extent that they required specialist care for the rest of their natural life, how would that be paid for?
      Insurance should be a legal requirement for ALL road users.

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    12. Kirsty walton. Bubble burst for you my friend. Your road tax doesn't pay for the road I'm affraid n while im on my bike I have a 13000 car on the drive which I pay road tax for. I also pay insurance on my bike and to ride on the road so as you are covered if anything happens as well as me under the BTA!!!@ wrong again

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    13. @voice of reason
      You're correct, it's not a legal requirement for cyclists, just as it isn't for horse riders, skateboarders, runners or pedestrians, none of them are in over a tonne of metal being propelled by a motorised engine. The damage a cyclist plus their bike can do is not even in the same league as a car.
      As you point out, someone would be liable if they were to knock over a child (or adult by the way), and it would have to be paid for in the same way as if a runner knocked a child over, or a skateboarder or a pushy pedestrian.
      ALL road users would include those too, in fact, runners, skateboarders etc would have more chance of coming into contact with pedestrians as they share the same walkways and both of them can travel over 30 mph (well Bolt can) so why don't they need it?

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    14. I'm a cyclist and when on a bicycle I assume every car driver is potentially a murderous nutter.. I'm also a motorist, and behind the wheel I assume every cyclist is a suicidal nutter.. No accidents yet.
      I'm also a motorcyclist and assume every cyclist, motorist and pedestrian is oblivious to my presence! I think motorcyclists are the safest of the lot on average, apart from those who ride too fast in inappropriate places.

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    15. I am a driver as well as a cyclist too, but I feel that the main point drivers should consider is that they really don't want to kill a cyclist when they set out on a journey, so just give cyclists plenty of room and consideration. If we go on about who does or doesn't do things to the letter of the Highway Code;we shall not progress.

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    16. I am a cyclist and I hate riding two abreast, constantly having to drop back to single file, or having to overtake slower riders, especially on cycle tracks, oblivious to others, dawdling 2 abreast..

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    17. I always thought you had to treat a cyclist like a car when overtaking.

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  2. Great article, thank you.

    We've reposted to our Endurance Cafe Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/endurancecafe

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    1. Thank you! It seems to have stirred up a hornets nest though!

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    2. For all those cyclists who may have insurance there are plenty that don't. In my experience the cyclist who swerved into my car whilst cycling with no protective gear and no lights on an unlit road carried on whilst I was left to pay the 2000 pounds of damage. Equally my friend was knocked down by a cyclist whilst he was using a pedestrian crossing. Again the cyclist rode off. My friend had to have surgery as a result, 10 weeks off work and has little mobility in his left hand which is permanent. Regardless of who uses the road, cyclists should face the same penalties financial and legal as a vehicle user would

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  3. Also easier to pass a single file column of cyclists as they aren't all swerving to avoiding hitting eachother, their attention is drawn to chatting, looking at eachother and constantly avoiding the accident they are about to cause with eachother.

    Our local cycling club are hell bent on riding two abreast, on roads where two way traffic is just about manageable, they also insist on stopping and gathering at the apex of corners and blind crests, having a drink whilst the bike wobbles away from their one supporting leg uncontrollably.

    This is great and I fully respect the guidelines/laws - unfortunately in my experience, the vast majority of those with a desire to cycle on our roads leave all common sense at home and treat their ride out in a similar vein to to local mothers union meetings on a Tuesday morning - paying zero attention to the road, no regard for other road users and carry with them an attitude that they can do no wrong whilst on a bicycle.

    They are a danger to society, please ensure the cyclists are aware of the rules prior to having a go at the motorist. I pride myself at being a fairly competent driver, young enough to act and think quickly, but old enough to have a bit of common sense. Unfortunately when seeing cyclists (and I do apologise for tarring them all with the same brush) I know I will have to take some deep breaths and calm myself down due to the complete incompetence displayed before me. What they fail to realise is that being on the road is not like playing on a games console, there is no reset button and the vast majority of motorists simply do not care about the hobbyist cyclist who is delaying their daily commute - that is where it gets dangerous!!!

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    1. Pete: you have just replied with the stereotypical nonsense that people tend to come out with.

      "Unfortunately when seeing cyclists (and I do apologise for tarring them all with the same brush)"

      How is that any different from me saying "I dont mean to tar every car driver with the same brush but they all use their mobiles while driving, if not drunk, some on occasion grab kids off the street before raping and killing them".

      You are talking utter crap and you know it.

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    2. The obvious troll is too obvious. Best ignored.

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    3. Pete by the sounds of it you are the very reason which sadly makes cycling so dangerous. you do not have a god-given right to use the road any more than a cyclist or any other road user. you clearly need a lesson on driving with due care and attention.

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    4. Pete get a life, and please let us live. Thank you

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    5. As both a cyclist and a driver, I see both sides, and only ever feel threatened as a cyclist. The only people hell bent on killing me are motorists, whether I'm on 2 or 4 wheels. Most motorists are considerate and safe, too many aren't, a cyclist will slow your journey down by seconds, grow up and have some consideration for your fellow man!

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    6. If the road is such that two way traffic is just about manageable, you need to overtake using the opposite carriageway, just as if you were overtaking a car.

      If your side of the road is not wide enough for a bike a metre from the road edge, plus the width of the rider, plus at least another metre of polite space then you will need to go into the oncoming carriageway when you can see the way is clear.

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    7. As a motorcyclist and avid cyclist (both commuter and leisure rider), I'm afraid I agree with some of what Pete is saying. There is always a balance that needs to be struck between principle (what the law permits) and common sense (what is applicable in that moment). In the last five years, even though there are more cyclists on the road, I've noticed the communication between fellow cyclists improve - slowing gestures, shoulder checks before moving out, patience in overtaking, etc. - but I've also noticed cars being more cautious before making potentially risky manoeuvres. Long may that continue.

      Even from the perspective of a regular cyclist, it does irritate me when amateur clubs almost exaggerate their presence on the roads and act with an arrogance and disregard that seems almost deliberate. As has been mentioned in another post, when I ride in a group, we are always very sensitive to the state of the traffic (and our impact on it) and make every effort to interchange between single and double file accordingly. At the end of the day, the principles of the law and entitlement alone aren't enough to stop you getting knocked off.

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    8. cyclists are a danger to society?? I think you will find there's only one winner when a cyclist and a motorist come together. I am a cyclist and a motorist and you are obviously just a motorist and a poor one at that. Have a little patience and consideration and you just might find you will be treated the same way. I recently cycled in France and the motorists over there might all drive like they are rushing someone to Hospital but they know how to overtake and be considerate of a cyclist. I am sure there are lots of cyclists that are morons but I am sure they are morons when they drive too. Enjoy your day Peter and before tarring everyone with the same brush as you put it yourself why don't you go get a bike and get out there, lose some weight, get fit and lower your blood pressure and see what's it like to cycle on the road before you start spouting off.

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    9. "please ensure the cyclists are aware of the rules prior to having a go at the motorist."

      Or to paraphrase you "stop trying to educate me, educate someone else".

      Seriously dude, why should it be either/or? Cyclists need educating and drivers need educating.

      But I'll tell you this: more cyclists may skip reds than car drivers; more cyclists may mount kerbs than car drivers, more cyclists may maneouver without signalling than car drivers... but most is not all.

      My life is in constant danger from the majority of car drivers who are more than happy to overtake me without leaving the lane and don't even have an inkling that what they're breaking the law in a potentially lethal manner (one unexpected gust of wind and I'll bounce off their bodywork), but that doesn't stop me accepting that there are a heck of a lot of idiots out there on bikes.

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    10. @pete moore

      QUOTE

      I think t What they fail to realise is that being on the road is not like playing on a games console, there is no reset button and the vast majority of motorists simply do not care about the hobbyist cyclist who is delaying their daily commute - that is where it gets dangerous!!!

      I think that just about sums up the mentality of most drivers!! LEAVE earlier!! your so fixated on your own time and needs that you forget that cycling and cycling clubs are pursuing a hobby or activity (eg they may well be commuting tooo!! something encouraged by the government and health organisations! your so fixated on getting where you need to be as fast as you can, that one day (which i hope not) for the sake of a couple of minutes patience in your life you will end up depriving someone of all of theirs) and yes i drive on average 15k a year and cycle 5k..

      Its times when out riding alone and some Neanderthal in a van overtakes me at 60 odd mile an hour with nothing coming the other way and not even making an attempt to make a move one inch out of the lane he is in so i can feel his wing mirror nearly on my elbow! i think god there was no one aside me.. or if there had been would he have given more room.

      And lastly quote ....2

      "Also easier to pass a single file column of cyclists as they aren't all swerving to avoiding hitting eachother, their attention is drawn to chatting, looking at eachother and constantly avoiding the accident they are about to cause with eachother."

      our local club has over 100 members with 40 to 50 turning out on sat and sun to ride and be social and fitter..we have a lot of experienced riders and yes some less experienced ones.. but we work together to ensure everyone's safety and do you have any idea on the concentration needed to ride at 15 to 25 mph less than 6 inches from the wheel in front and yes 2 by 2 to share the work load!! try it sometime! just not in your car!!

      still there are good and bad in cars on bikes and human nature is human nature!! and the argument will never be won and will continue to rage.. or someone's impatient rage will turn out to be their undoing.. but then its to late

      give respect and patience from all sides

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    11. I find so funny people comparing bicycle and cars. The blog owner talking about chatting while cycling, because people chatting while driving a car!! Don't forget that bikes is more vulnerable than cars, also the road is made for cars and not for bikes, when these two mixes together we have to obey not just the rules, but THE COMMON SENSE!! Pedaling side by side and chatting while people queue behind you late to work or late to pick up children from school is not a common sense at all. While you drive a bike you have to pay attention to the road for your life sake and the same rule apply for cars!

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    12. they are called public roads Leda... not motorist roads.
      Heres an idea- leave for work on time, be there to pick up the kids when the bell rings- or even better get them bikes and ride to school- oh hang on thats right its not safe for kids to ride bike- why is that?
      Since its apparently unsafe fr cyclists to chat as we ride, lest also ban passengers in cars, ban car radios, fit tin foil hats on cars to block mobile phone signals- or we can solve it all with the installation of a IQ metre on the ignition. That way you have to score about average before the car will start....

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    13. actually, the road was made for horses - not cars or bicycles.

      The 'common sense' rules you are referring to aren't the Highway Code. If people are late for work or late picking their kids up then that's about their time management not cyclists' right to use a public highway? Obviously, the car is king and your right to get to the kids is way more important than anyone else's safety. How self important can you get.

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    14. @Pete Moore - not sure where to start with your views but it does seem they were only written to provoke a response, well done. I agree your comment is probably best ignored.

      @Tim - there is a balance that needs to be struck but in my experience, cyclists are the ones compromising a lot more than car drivers. That's only my experience though, just as your post details your experience, neither of which are provable. My club is quite considerate, we single out when we think appropriate but that doesn't mean every time there is a car waiting behind. It's not "entitlement", it's for the reasons I mention in my blog post, mainly for safety so as not to encourage cars by a couple of inches from our bars.

      @Leda - yes I mention chatting on my bike, I think people chat when they drive too. I know we're more vulnerable than cars but that doesn't mean we have any less right to be on the road. I think if you click on my Attitude page, you'll find some COMMON SENSE there, getting to your destination on time does not override cyclists' safety.

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  4. The highway code only states that you SHOULD NOT ride more than two abreast.

    So legally, we can ride 3 or 4 abreast? I'm not aware of any legislation that stipulate such about cycles.

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    1. @CycleGaz - yep, technically it's not illegal for cyclists to ride 3-4 abreast although as it's recommended against in the Highway Code, I think if an accident did happen the cyclists would be presumed in the wrong. It's also not illegal for pedestrians to cross a road with a red man showing, but if they get hit by a car, I don't think it'd be the drivers fault.

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    2. "I think if an accident did happen the cyclists would be presumed in the wrong." I can't agree with that. It would depend on the circumstances.

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    3. It's "technically legal" for a car to storm past you within an inch and then park on the road obstructing it for you. But it wouldn't be very nice, would it.

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  5. Gaz,

    Are you unable to understand english? If the Highway Code says you should not ride more than two abreast then how could you legally ride 3 or 4 abreast?

    The legislation that stipulates this "IS" the highway code. I wish you best of luck convincing a policeman that the Highway Code is only a suggestion of how you should ride/drive on the road and is not enforceable.

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    1. Highway Code has "shoulds" and "musts". Shoulds are advisory, musts are law.

      I fear it is you that does not understand the Highway Code!

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    2. Cycling 3-4 abreast would be quite silly as you would be taking a lot of road space because you do have to take into account giving your fellow rider space from the curb as well to manoeuvre round drain and potholes and yourself space for the similar obstacles. I ride for a cycling club and we never go more than 2 breast if there is a 3 they always tell us to drop back. Its just common courtesy for other motorists so they don't become aggressive to us. I'm a new driver on the road and as a cyclist, so far, i've rarely seen small groups ride 2 abreast its only big groups that do and when i overtake them i overtake as if it is a car, and i dont see the harm in doing so, in all honesty, i know they wont collide into my car and i havent run them over.

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    3. Hmmm... On most roads there is space enough for a car to overtake a sigle cycle file safely even if there is traffic coming the other way. There is another issue here and that is the vast difference in speed. If (motor) vehicles have to slow right down behind cyclists and then accelerate again, they will use a lot more fuel. Better of course if motor vehicles all drive more slowly in the first place...

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    4. but according to the highway code (and most of our personal experience) its never safe to overtake a cyclist that way, Jogger.

      Motorists using more fuel > the safety of other road users

      Its like saying - there's enough time to run a pelican crossing even though you have to stop for a pedestrian so why are all these uppity pedestrians getting pissy with me when I run through it. It's perfectly safe (because I've designated it so and why would they run out in front of a car, idiots), and it saves me fuel.

      The road has genuine actual written down rules.

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    5. @jogger - I do agree with the others, I'm not sure how you think it's safe to overtake a cyclist single file if there is traffic coming the other way but I think it's a common misconception that a lot of motorists have unfortunately. I think the current guidance for cycling on the gov website says you should cycle a metre away from the curb or in the centre of the left lane. If that's true, and a rough average for a cyclist's width is 0.5 metres, the average road width is 3.5 meters and the average car width is 1.85 metres, that only leaves 0.15 metres gap between the car and the cyclist without the car going on the other side of the road, I'm not sure that many would classify that as "enough space". If there was a pot hole or drain cover, or the wind blew and move the cyclist slightly, there would not really be any room for manoeuvre.

      I think the additional fuel is justified by not endangering the life of another person, even if they happen to be on a bike.

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  6. "Rule 66 states you should never cycle more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads.

    This means cycles are perfectly legal to cycle side by side on most roads in the UK"

    Or it means that you should "ride in single file on narrow or busy roads" - which accounts for pretty much every road in the UK....

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    1. Another should. Not a must.

      The advice is insufficiently expressed in the Highway Code, imo - narrow roads are exactly where it might not be safe to invite a car to squeeze past. If you want to overtake, leave plenty of room and use the opposite carriageway. If it isn't safe to go in the opposite carriageway, it isn't safe to pass.

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    2. Another should is "give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car" - so not a must then?

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    3. But wouldn't it be easier and less hassle by giving the sufficient space?...

      And when referring to most UK roads, it can refer to places with a painted line because if 2 cars can fit down a lane, surely that means even as 2 abreast a car should be able to overtake easily, if done correctly. anything like country lane roads and narrow roads most cyclists in a club will know to jump into single file to be easier.

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    4. @Friday Street, I agree with you that the ambiguity is a problem. I suspect when originally written, narrow meant single track roads. There is a rule for single track roads though, so I might well be wrong although it could be a later addition.

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    5. The problems are as follows: gossiping cyclists meander and are a threat to dogs and motorists alike.
      Many cyclists think they own the road: they don't bother to take account of pedestrians or dog walkers: they frighten many dogs and some find it amusing to try to get as close to dogs as possible.
      Many cyclists often piss about by coasting instead of peddling: this is annoying for sooo many reasons, but it is also unsafe, especially on windy country roads.
      Cyclists also often do not bother to find adequate illumination for their bikes: riding single file means a car can take evasive action more safely: riding abreast means that avoiding ill-lit cyclists is particularly dangerous.
      On a tangent, cyclists should NEVER use flickering lights, or lights that blink in sync with pedal motion: it is distracting, dangerous and actually means you are not properly lit. Affix lights to front and rear that provide a constant source of light.
      Some of my best friends are cyclists: that also happen to be conscientious and considerate. The rest of you should wise up.
      Also, the road is not a place to be sociable (if you want proof look at rabbits and pheasants), so just get on with your ride and ride safely.

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    6. @ScottishManx - if it meant most of the roads in the UK, it probably would have specified as such. It is open to interpretation, sure, but if a rule singles out exceptions, they are by definition the exception, not the norm.

      @Julia Bradshaw - it seems obvious that you own a dog and have met some inconsiderate cyclists but I think you are overstating your point slightly. How many dogs have died after collisions with cyclists? How many have dies after collisions with cars? I suspect that the second may be far greater than the first.
      Again, I think you are tarring all "cyclists" with a very large brush due to your experiences with idiots on bikes. I don't think any of my cycling friends have tried to get as close as they can to dogs, it seems strange you have friends who are cyclists if we all do this.
      I agree cyclists should be lit up, after dark it's a legal requirement. But blinking lights draw attention to drivers and are perfectly adequate for being seen.
      Lastly, I think the road is a very good place to be sociable, do your cyclist friends not talk to each other while riding? I don't think comparing us with animals is very useful. I really hope I am one of your friends, they sound nice, otherwise I'm off to wise up.

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    7. Julia, flashing lights have been perfectly legal since 2005, and the ban on using them had not been enforced for years before that. That said, I always use a steady light to the front.

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    8. I never said flashing lights are illegal, i said they are dangerous and distracting and don't serve an adequate purpose. And I am also not tarring all cyclists with the same brush: I deliberately said 'many', as that has been my considerable experience. But some cyclists are perfectly normal.

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  7. So motorcycle riders are 'future organ donors' are they?

    That's a nice attitude. I wonder why arrogant cyclists keep dying?

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    1. Ur more likely to die coming off a motorbike than a cycle... hence organ donors.... veggie Dave. Don't worry ur sacrifice is appreciated lol

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  8. C_D Highway Code has "shoulds" and "musts". Shoulds are advisory, musts are law.

    I fear it is you that does not know the Highway Code!

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  9. Lets face it like everything else there are competant and there are incompenant cyclists as there are motorists so chill and share thats the motto for today

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    1. I agree with you, although if more people realised the benefits of cycling two abreast, knew how to overtake cyclists, realised the benefits of cycling full stop, I think everyone on the road would be more chilled out.

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  10. C__D,

    The Highway Code also says you should wear a helmet, but as we all know, that not a legal requirement. The intro to the Code explains that it is only a legal requirement if it says "MUST/MUST NOT". So CycleGaz is correct, you can legally ride more than 2 abreast even though the Code advises against it.

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  11. If someone times the overtake badly (which is very common when overtaking cyclists) there is enough room for a single file cyclist and two cars to get by. You cannot assume that cyclist should be overtaken like cars, that would effectively mean that the roads would be full of extremely slow cars and on busy days double journey times.

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    1. @nick s - if everyone knew how to overtake a cyclist properly and waited until it was clear to do so there wouldn't be any bad overtakes. I think if the Highway Code says you should overtake cyclists like cars, you should assume that can happen, just like you assume pedestrians will wait at the red man.

      If cars waited until it was safe, and that took a mile of travelling at 15mph rather than 30mph for example, they would lose 2 minutes of their day, I would say it was worth it to avoid endangering another persons life. It's unlikely that they would have to wait over a mile in most cases, but if they did, the same logic still applies, in my opinion it's still worth it.

      The roads in London are already full of slow cars, and it's not caused by cyclists, in fact if everyone on bikes drove cars for a day, imagine what that would do to the roads.

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  12. C_D, to add a bit more detail to some earlier posts:
    The Highway Code is not law but many of its rules are based on Traffic Laws. If the Highway Code says you 'must/must not' do something, that is with reference to a specific law and if you contravene the Code, you're breaking that law and can be prosecuted for it. If it says you 'should/should not' do something, that is advisory only. You cannot be prosecuted for simply contravening that advice, but it could increase your chances of being found liable in the event of an accident. See here:

    https://www.gov.uk/highway-code/introduction

    CycleGaz, you could ride more than two abreast but it's not recommended because a), you'll look like an ill-disciplined shower, b), it might not be safe and c) some eejit may think you're asking for it.

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  13. Personally I prefer rules 69 and 71 that explains that cyclists MUST obey road signs and traffic lights, Something I think you will agree not all cyclists do.

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    1. RULE 64
      You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.
      Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & R(S)A 1984, sect 129

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    2. It probably says somewhere that you must not break the speed limit, but people do. If a car was doing 40mph in a 30 zone we've all seen the tv advert of how bad just that 10mph different can mean to a child's life. The consequences of cyclist mounting a pavement or running a red light are not nearly as severe. I am not saying it is right - both things are breaking the highway code - just highlighting that things are a whole lot worse when a car has a accident than a bike, and it's important to remember that.

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    3. and in all fairness about rule 64. do you complain when a cyclist is on the path and not as some motorists put it 'in the way' on the road?

      I ride on the road and it is commented above, *Most* cyclists obey the laws of the road, just like *most* drivers obey the laws aswell. there is good and bad in both sides. No side will be ever perfect on obeying laws of the road.

      and just to be clear, I am trying to keep this calm, fairly equal and making valid points.

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    4. How about Rule 124

      You MUST NOT exceed the maximum speed limits for the road and for your vehicle - Something I think you will agree (if you do the slightest bit of research) the vast majority of drivers admit to doing.

      So what is your point? Should car drivers not care about looking out for motorbikes because most of them speed and some enter ASLs illegally and run red lights? Pedestrians MUST NOT be on motorways but you get the odd nutter walking on one, should that mean nobody takes care around side streets etc?

      Most experienced cyclists don't run red lights or ride on the pavement and are annoyed by those that do, partly because it makes drivers less likely to be considerate to all cyclists. For some reason there seems to be some weird idea that all cyclists are related or part of some hive mind and until every single one obeys all the rules, no respect should be given to any of them. Perhaps it is a property of the glass used in windscreens, which also makes the thousands of other cars in the traffic jam invisible when the driver thinks about what is causing them to be delayed.

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    5. The laws differ for bicycles as they have no engine and need no licence, car drivers like my self have to drive in accordance to a driving licence, and since the speed limits are for motor vehicles why should a cyclist or horse rider be prosecuted for this? Also read this up, cyclists only have to stop at red lights with pedestrian crossings, or any other pedestrian crossing. It's better if people know the laws. I've had bicycle speeding tickets revoked and put police in their place with the red light law, but tbf one does not need a licence nor insurance to drive a motor vehicle, it's only once we get a licence that we are liable for prosecution, since we signed saying we accept these rules, that's why its called driving in accordance to a driving licence, all law derives from common law, and those laws are too protect us the people not make the corporate police money, lastly to cycle on the British water ways system one rightfully needs a licence. My point really is most do not know the law even the police so my advice is do your own researcher and find out.

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    6. @Cheap Fancy Dress and @ScottishManx - I like that rule too but like others have said, you cannot disregard what cyclists say because a minority don't follow all of the rules, otherwise motorists wouldn't get a say either. I see more cars jumping red lights than cyclists but it's never used against them.

      I'm not sure what either of these have to do with this page though, I was simply trying to explain why cyclists ride two abreast, is that not allowed until everyone on a bike obeys every rule or are we not classed as equal road users until then?

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  14. As someone who has done an extensive amount of cycling (on and off road) as well as being a Level 1 MIAS instructor, I would question the validity of riding 2 abreast because Rule 66 is very vague and subjective. Who's interpretation of a busy road is correct? Someone who has lived in London and experienced rush hour traffic, or someone who lives in the Sussex area where cars are far fewer? Surely if there is a rule to the etiquette, then it must be clear and specific (no riding abreast in housing areas with 20-30 mph limits, or with parked cars on both sides) etc., Otherwise where does the liability come from with accidents involving 2 people riding abreast?

    I think the main problem is that many people are allowed to purchase a bike with no previous experience and go straight onto a road system that for Motorbikes and Cars you need to be trained and certified in. Where is the sense in that? As a trainee teacher I have done numerous cycling proficiency primary level courses and quite frankly the children being taught to ride in year 6 have a better sense of how to ride, than most of the people I see cycling to work these days because of that current training.

    I don't understand how a method of transport that is so popular in this day and age is simply exempt from the proper training in how to operate on and off the road. People don't understand the rules and regulations because they don't need to. People who go to and from work use it as a means from A-B, they are not necessarily interested in the rules and regulations as they have other priorities in their life and don't need a license. Bike's are also much cheaper than cars (if you're not going for high spec machines) so are more available to children and people who want to save money on petrol etc.

    Who has more liability, the car user who has been trained and certified for the road or the cyclist who has never read the highway code? People who are part of cycling clubs should know these things as their keen interest should steer them in direction of attaining that road knowledge and awareness.

    I don't blame road users for getting agitated at cyclists, when people unknowingly go through red lights because they think it's 'ok' or go on roads where cycling lanes are in effect. It's not like you can write their number plate down and report them to the authorities. Why is the cycling industry so untrackable in these ways?

    If all road users understood each others rules and regulations then people would be much more accepting of road related behaviors. I don't mind people riding 2 abreast at all down quiet country roads because as a cyclist I know the fun and social side of it, but where there is no concrete rule about when to stop ridding 2 abreast, then how do you define that?

    Why do we offer a dangerous method of transport to people of all ages with no prior training except for cycling proficiency? It blows my mind how we allow people of all abilities to access a transport network where no standard needs to be attained, unlike the other road users. If we can't standardise the cyclists then at least we could implement some questions into driving theory tests to give road users the chance to understand some of the highway code rules. The rules are freely available for all to see, but since when did everyone research into things that they don't see as a problem or have an interest in?

    I love cycling and will continue to cycle, but common sense, subjective reasoning and a vague rule are not a good enough defense against road accidents. If anything our current approach encourages this negative stigma because, a majority of people don't understand how to operate appropriately in a dangerous environment.

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    1. Agreed!
      I use a cycle, motorcycle & car.

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    2. Good points. My understanding of why there is no license for cycling is that other road users, e.g. cars & motorbikes are still involved in the vast majority of road accidents, injuries, deaths etc.. While cycling deaths make for dramatic headlines, the number is tiny compared to these other road users. Then this has to be compared to the costs of introducing licenses.

      Then on top of that there's the idea that cycling cuts costs for society in terms of cheaper health care bills, lack of emissions and less need for expensive infrastructure (e.g. more roads, trains, buses). Licensing would discourage when we really should encourage cycling use.

      Another idea is to make a cycling test a prerequisite for the drivers license. This would increase education and safety (after all, very rarely are cyclists injured from cyclist-on-cyclist accidents) and not increase the costs by as much as these individuals would be undertaking road testing anyway.



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    3. I totally agree 2Cents, that would have been my next suggestion so you're bang on the money with that idea.

      I agree that it would put off a lot of cyclists in some ways because of the licensing and cost associated, but if we're encouraging a transition from cars etc., over to bikes, then hypothetically if cycling became the 'majority' transport alternative, then surely a license would be required.

      I don't foresee it going well with lots of people cycling everywhere with little knowledge of how to operate on a system that was developed originally for cars.

      Anyhow there are a plethora of ideas to help this lack of knowledge, we just need the people who enforce these regulations to understand that the rules are available, but it's not in many peoples interests to view them because there is little incentive for people to know them regardless of their interest in safety.

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    4. @CIAcKeRzW

      Some interesting points that in the majority I cannot argue against. However, you might be the exception to the general rule in these circumstances because most motorists who moan about cyclists who break the law and or are dangerous on the roads are complete hypocrits. These are the motorists who think its OK to break the speed limit, OK not signal when changing lanes, OK to park illegally, OK to drive with alcohol in their system (whether it's within legal limits or not), OK to drive and phone someone on their mobile phone etc the list goes on. If you have done any of the above you have NO rights to lambast and tar cyclists that do the same.

      Also, I appreciate you banging on about being trained and having a license to drive a car but the problem is that most motorists see the license test as something they have to get out of the way rather than a something that they have to keep in mind when driving on the roads. Then you have the countless millions of motorists who went through the previous system of a couple of nondescript questions on the highway code before being given their license. I'm willing to bet that you could test any motorist on the road right now that has been driving for 5-10 years plus would badly fail a test on the highway code. it seems completely bizarre to me that you can pass a test once and never need to refresh your road skills and or complete any updates to the highway code until age 75 (i think). If you think the roads and driving hasnt changed in 50 years then it just seems ridiculous.

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    5. "Who has more liability, the car user who has been trained and certified for the road or the cyclist who has never read the highway code? "

      The car user who is driving the 5 foot wide, 2 tonne machine capable of 100mph+ or the cyclist who is riding a 10kg machine capable of 35mph on the flat?

      I'm in favour of people having training but I think requiring it and introducing a cycling license is not the answer. Cycling is not particularly dangerous in itself, it is generally drivers that kill cyclists, as they kill themselves, motorcyclists, other drivers and pedestrians. More stringent tests, requiring drivers to be retested regularly and getting across their duty of care for other road users would be more effective.






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    6. I agree with a lot of points that are being made on here and i think 2 major points on here would help reduce a lot of harmful dangerous
      riding and driving on roads.

      1. I feel that cyclists that do ride on the road either can hold a cycling licence that shows they understand the rules of the road and the highway code to ride safely. this would then stop people from riding dangerously and reduce a percentage of riders on being paths or riding iratically. If they upgrade to motorvehicle licence the cycling licence is validated within the vehicle licence.

      2. I feel people should have a 10 year re-sit when they need to validate there licence from expiry, whether thats just on theory tests or practical tests. to help just re-cap people on the rules and safety on the road.

      Wouldn't these 2 things reduce alot of dangerous riders/drivers on the roads today and prevent further accidents from occuring? and if so, why cant the government see these things and realise to do so.

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    7. I guess it's the classic argument qualification vs competency. For example, i'm a keen kayaker who has a coaching qualification to a degree, but the person who I learnt from has no qualification and kayaks at the highest level. Same with all licenses, qualifications etc. There just needs to be a standard that's adhered to.

      I know road tests etc are just a barrier to some, but at least they have a baseline understanding of what they are doing. I'd say it's almost unfair to cyclists to not test them, because how can they compare their ability to cycle when there is nothing to show that you can indeed ride. At least car drivers are accountable for their negative actions because if you have a license then you are tested to a standard (albeit deteriorating) and are therefore acting sub par to the level you have achieved.

      It must be difficult to take cyclists vs vehicles to court because as I aforementioned, one has a qualification and the other does not, so who has the reigning responsibility, even though both should be equally accountable? My minor cycling qual, means that if I see anyone not adhering to the code i'm expected to 'Stop them and take their details' Which is obviously never going to happen in the real world.

      It's all dependent on the individual, which is why it's so hard to crack down on these things, but they definitely need to reassess people more frequently (like you said) for all methods of transport. I'm not bias to any method of transport but think they should all be interconnected because on the roads, that's exactly what they are. I would call for tests for all of them and refresher courses that need to be passed in order to continue using that particular means of travel. However I don't think it can work practically or financially but it's a nice thought all the same.

      The main problem is that i'm not exactly in the position to suggest new systems or change current ones because although it may sounds like a practical alternative, I don't know the ins and outs of how to accomplish such a thing, finances involved etc.

      It's nice to think you might have a decent idea, but it would be better if we had the ability to implement such a thing :) All we can do is ramble on these forums and spread some ideas and hopefully someone will come along and do something about it.

      Until then, we can just rant in the usual forum manner that we are now accustomed to on the internet haha.

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    8. License for cycling. So do my kids sit it at 3,4,5....... or like climbing trees, playing on swings do we just take it some skills are learned by living?

      End of the day, and I'd say this applies to most every cyclist. Happy to pay a road user fee, the same day everyone in a car treats me with the respect & courtesy they calim as their own ;-)

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    9. @CIAcKeRzW - you make some interesting points which on the face of it seem reasonable but once thought about I don't agree with really. I think the problem isn't cyclists not doing what they're told, following rules, obeying laws, it's that motorists simply don't know how to handle cyclists properly, they don't know how to overtake, why they're in 2 files, how they're allowed on their road in the first place.

      That Rule is there to try and say don't ride more than two abreast and single out when on a busy or narrow road, it starts from a position of riding two abreast. If you take that rule away, you just get left with ride two abreast, whatever the road and more if you like.

      The validity of riding two abreast is what you seem to be questioning, and I hoped to clarify this with the actual article with pictures but I guess I didn't.

      I believe that the DfT conducted a study which showed that "adult cyclists, police found the driver solely responsible in about 60%-75% of all cases, and riders solely at fault 17%-25% of the time." The guardian link: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-accidents-study

      This shows that drivers are the ones to blame, not cyclists, which is strange as you consider that they should be better qualified as they have passed a test. I do agree that cycling proficiency or training should be given at school but to enforce licensing isn't the answer in my opinion, I think that public education on how to handle cyclists on the road is, whether that's from cycling being part of the driving test or a public campaign or just little blog posts like this.

      If you start with the biggest cause of the collisions, then work down to the smaller ones, less people will die. The DfT report showed only 2% of collisions with cyclists were caused by the cyclist disobeying a traffic signal or sign, lets start with the big percentages and then hit the small ones.

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  15. Another reason cyclists ride 2 abreast is that sometimes the person on the inside isnt confident on the road or is just starting out and cars tend to get too close therefore the more experienced and more confident cyclist will ride on the outside (next to them) to stop the cars getting too close, its mainly seen in cycling groups and organisations with new comers to the group.

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    1. Agreed, you also see this with parents riding with their kids on the road.

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  16. I think it's still a bit ambiguous in the highway code to be fair. It says "never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends." How bendy does a bend have to be before riders go single file? (that part gets left out of the article). How wide? How busy? What about when going up hills? I think it's a grey area that neither rider or driver is sure of, which probably causes frustration all round.

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    1. True, I think the bend bit is a new addition, it is ambiguous though.

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    2. I think the point about bends is that you don't know what's round them - keep left and there's more room to manoeuvre in emergencies.

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  17. @connor, if you're not a good enough cyclist get off the main roads!!

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  18. I drive through Edinburgh early most morning taking my wife to work ....and the thing that "scares" me most is the total disrespect that a lot of cyclist have for red lights...I sit and watch them whizz through ...sometimes even causing me to have a sharp in take of breath...Then it got me thinking ..is there any insurance for cyclists,for personal cover ....and if they go through red lights and damage a car ...are they held responsible for damage to the cars ?
    I think these are the cyclist that have to be made aware of the highway code for their own safety

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    1. I have two policies that give me third party cover. They were free with other purchases because cyclists are at fault for so little damage, it costs the insurers practically nothing to provide the cover. I am totally against people running red lights though. Hopefully the ones you have seen will improve with experience.

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    2. @Big Scott - Caesar's right, many do have insurance as it's almost given out with club membership. I'm also against red light jumpers but if they do damage you car and don't have insurance, they are still liable for the damage, just as a pedestrian would be. It's like if I'm in a shop and accidentally break something, I still have to pay for it.

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  19. If the aggression displayed by both cyclists and drivers in the comments section of this blog is anything to go by, no wonder it's carnage on the roads. Chill out, people, and show a bit of tolerance for others, whether it's on the road or online!

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    1. Yep, aggression is not going to help, on either side.

      I would point out that aggressive people on bikes are a lot less dangerous than aggressive people in cars though.

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  20. No one is questioning whether it is legal or possible to pass, its a question of consideration for others. The thought of holding people up on their way to work, school or you never know maybe even on a journey much more serious, should make cyclists happy to ride single file and socialise another time, in a more appropriate setting. I also think the tone of this blog is totally unnecessary and in my opinion does a dis-service to any decent cyclists. Displaying a patronising, sarcastic tone whilst unaware that the difference between drivers and cyclists is either a difference in priority or a lack space and facilities for both forms of transport. Come on this is playground stuff! Really low and thoughtless..

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    1. @blutey - I'm sorry you feel that way, it wasn't my intention to patronise anyone, I just felt that if more people understood the reasons why groups of cyclists were riding in 2 files they may not be as angry. Lots of people I know genuinely thought it was against the law and could not image why cyclists would be riding like that until I tried to explain so I thought I would try and write something down which showed it.

      If you know the reasons why cyclists ride two abreast and know that it's not illegal, then find it hard to understand how you think the though of holding people up on their way to work could be stronger than the thought of self preservation. If it still doesn't make sense to you, I've obviously not explained it correctly, so I apologise. I will say that it's rare for cyclists to be out in organised groups while people are commuting to work, they're normally out on Saturday or Sunday mornings when there are far less commuters out.

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  21. So long as you make sure you stay 2 abreast at the traffic lights and don't squeeze past all the cars to get through the lights quicker and then make motorists have to over-take you again, then fair play.

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    1. I think this depends a bit on the circumstances, if in a big group, we usually wait in line with everyone else as trying to get 10 or so cyclists at the front on the queue before the lights change is quite tricky. If I'm on my own though, I'll usually filter through as a motorcycle would, especially if it's a long queue of traffic.

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  22. sounds like car drivers need to brush up on rules and regs before mouthing off to cyclists

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  23. also it is not easier to pass a group of cyclists who are two abreast, there are reasons you require more than a diagram to pass a driving test..
    On approaching cyclists considerately riding one by one, one can normally adjust their line slightly and there is room for everyone to go about their day. However on approaching cyclists riding two abreast, drivers need to adjust gears, speed (considerably) and wait for a gap because they need to use the whole other side of the road and then drive through the gears, for older drivers or slower cars this can be a real task getting the timing right, not to mention time elapsing for drivers behind and most importantly dangerous for everyone!! This article is pretty thoughtless I must say!

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    1. If you're overtaking within the same lane, as it sounds like you're suggesting - then you're doing something really dangerous. Please see the section on 'overtaking' above.

      Riding 2 x 2 prevents this practice, and therefore improves safety - as long as the drivers act like human beings and not as entitled psycopaths (which I'm afraid to say isn't universal - although most drivers, in my experience, are pretty good and very happy to be patient as long as they see that you're doing your best to facilitate their journey in a safe way).

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    2. Ah, come on Benjamin. Overtaking in the same lane isn't that dangerous. I mean, maybe I'll fall over due to a pothole or wet manhole cover and end up under the cars wheels, but I'm not much bigger than a sleeping policeman.

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    3. @bluty - I guess my patronising blog on overtaking didn't tickle your fancy. This is my reply to someone above:
      "@jogger - I do agree with the others, I'm not sure how you think it's safe to overtake a cyclist single file if there is traffic coming the other way but I think it's a common misconception that a lot of motorists have unfortunately. I think the current guidance for cycling on the gov website says you should cycle a metre away from the curb or in the centre of the left lane. If that's true, and a rough average for a cyclist's width is 0.5 metres, the average road width is 3.5 meters and the average car width is 1.85 metres, that only leaves 0.15 metres gap between the car and the cyclist without the car going on the other side of the road, I'm not sure that many would classify that as "enough space". If there was a pot hole or drain cover, or the wind blew and move the cyclist slightly, there would not really be any room for manoeuvre."
      I actually have tried to put some thought into the article, I have tried to give both sides and answer some of the comments but obviously sometimes it's not going to wash with some people, I just hope I'm not on the road when you're trying to overtake me without going on the other side of the road.

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  24. I drive a car and a truck and also a very keen cyclist, i see it from every aspect but 1 thing the taring brush should firmly be thrown away.

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    1. It would be nice, although I think there are a lot of people who like tarring to throw it away just yet unfortunately.

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  25. Great article and well worth the read through the comments. At least +Simon Hall has at least tried to generate a sensible argument rather than spout nonsense.

    Overtaking anything: cars, cyclists, horses, whatever requires forward planning and shouldn't be treated any differently.

    The article is written to try and clear up some of the ambiguity of the laws of the road. We'd do well to remember that we'd all like to get home regardless of our method of transport and stop posting stuff to troll and wind people up.

    PS. I'm a driver and cyclist.

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    1. Cheers, I'm glad it makes sense to someone!

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  26. As a cyclist I can honestly say the most dangerous people on the road are other bloody cyclists. Arrogant ejits in lycra bombing down the road with no consideration for the highway code, other cyclists let alone cars and motorbikes. The highway code should be enforced on bikes like it is with motorbikes and cars or else there's no reason for cyclists to follow it.

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    1. I will agree with this, there are certain riders that do take a lot of risk when riding on the road and the rules should be enforced on cyclists and motorbikes as well as vehicles. Ive seen some cyclists run red lights but the same can be said about motorists. its just like how motorists are aggravated by bad cyclists and cyclists are aggravated by bad cyclists. Its a never ending circle that increases risk on the road due to rage.

      The rights are equal for bicycle and motor-vehicle but 1 thing i have noticed is its the people that are meant to be protecting and enforcing the laws of the road choose who they enforce it on. and because motor vehicles are being targeted, cyclists are being targeted by the motorist for certain aspects.
      For example, I'm sure drivers have commented on other drivers driving badly on the phone and running red lights. The same is done with cyclists but for some reason, the aggression escalades rather quickly and is held against them longer.

      Now let's say the law enforcers start treating cyclists and motorists equally and prevent the bad ones from continuing this bad behaviour, is this still going to stop either, no. It will reduce a percentage of both sides doing it but not all of them.

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    2. I don't think the stats support this. I agree that there are plenty of bad cyclists, but in my experience they don't tend to be the ones in lycra.

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    3. Again, I agree, the Highway Code should be enforced, but enforced for everyone, the stats show it's drivers that cause the most accidents, if they all play by the rules, it'd make a much bigger difference in safety than if all cyclists did so I hope they start with the group causing the most collisions.

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  27. Is it the car moving into the other lane that keeps cyclists safe or the distance between the car and the cyclist? I would have assumed the latter, but the diagram above implies the former. Those two riders on the outside of the two abreast bunch are about as far from the car as the single file riders would be if the car straddled the centre line! ;-)

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    1. Hopefully your smiley means you already know this but the point is that when riders are in single file, drivers don't always wait until it is safe to straddle the line, they will overtake without straddling or crossing the line, often leaving only a few inches between their car and your bars. That is not much breathing space if you need to swerve around a pothole, avoid an animal that darts out, get hit by a gust of wind, etc.

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    2. The Highway Code talks about room and space, not just simple the gap between the cyclist and the wing mirror. It's a space which the cyclists can move around to avoid things as pointed out above.

      Plus, if the car is going over the other side of the road anyway, the road must be clear ahead so it would make sense to give the cyclists as much space as possible.

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  28. Obviously biased cycle forum is biased but as a part-time cyclist and majority-time car driver, there is no way this is safer than being one abreast. It's all very well saying "No! It's ok to do it because it's legal!" but it's not safe to be doing 45-40mph less than other vehicles on the same road and sit in the middle of it.

    You're hindering traffic
    You're risking your life.
    You're not right to do it, even if you're allowed to. In the same way a car driver is technically legally allowed to travel down a NSL road at 60mph around every blind bend, but shouldn't, you shouldn't sit in the middle of the road risking your life to prove a point and "be social" even if you're technically legally allowed to.

    Christ.

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    1. Depends on the road you're riding on.

      Delete
    2. @David Chapman - it's not just because it's legal, I've actually tried to explain the reasons above. Do you think it's safe to cycle on roads going that much less than other vehicles in single file or would you prefer cyclists weren't on the road?

      Cyclists aren't so much hindering traffic as being a legitimate part of it, bikes are allow on roads too. It's true riding a bike is a risk but so is walking down the road, apparently the risk of cycling is outweighed by the risk of heart disease from not exercising, plus it seems it's the drivers who are increasing the risk, if everyone played nicely it wouldn't be as risky.

      I don't think cars are allowed to drive round blind bends at 60mph, it wouldn't be breaking the speed limit but it would be driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving or one of those other safety laws they put in place.

      I've never said we do it to prove a point, we do it because of the reasons outlined above, it just also happens to be legal, something a lot of drivers don't seem to know, I was just pointing that out too.

      Delete
    3. So what about drivers who do 40mph down a national speed limit road holding up other drivers? Just because your aloud to do 60 doesn't mean you have to all the way, I mean does no one remember the hazard perception or driving test? Your meant to slow down for potential hazards, drivers keep moaning cyclists are hazardous,,, so why don't drivers slow down and give the hazard some room, Also most Cars on road have good safety ratings and are safes on wheels for people, the lack of humans with no humanity is shocking. End of day most on the roads are all doing the same thing, getting to and from work or are at work,,, want to give anyone stress for traffic jams road ignorance blame the governing bodies, oh and there is no such thing as road tax, that's been gone 76 years, we have vehicle tax which all depends on the amount of c02 your vehicle produces so a cycle will still be free

      Delete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. Lets all get real , I,m a biker and car driver etc etc ....."the highway code is out of date".........its not illegal to not apologise now and again and be courteous but if we all used a bit of either motoring/cycling would be far better.

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  31. @Caesar, I don't think the relative weight and power of the vehicle vs a bike has anything to do with the danger levels in any way.

    A squirrel in the road has as much impact and influence on the oncoming mode of transport as anything else. It's not about which is the most destructive in a head on collision, it's which of the people involved wasn't travelling in an appropriate, mindful or respectful manner.

    I look at the perspectives from both sides, being that I am on both and far more cyclists fail to adhere to the rules BECAUSE there are no rules that they have to learn. When my friends buy a bike they go 'ok so I have to get to work along this road so will cycle on the pavement at this bit cos it's dodgy and then cross this bit to avoid waiting at the traffic lights etc etc' and how would he know any better? It should be 'Ok I have to stay in the cycle lane to this point, stop at the traffic lights, signal my intentions to move over into the right hand lane and continue on my journey. The difference is, if a survey was done with giving people an open ended question on how to travel on a particular route, I can guarantee the descriptions would vary wildly and I know this from doing my own bike qual, how most people have no idea how to react or keep in with the highway code. If you did the same for drivers, the results would vary yes, but it would be the order in which they do them that would fluctuate, not what they are doing.

    In any aspect of life, if you're not trained, then how can you improve? You can't just acquire a skill without some sort of self teaching or training regimen. I don't see how you can teach yourself a skill that needs to synergise with people in a dangerous environment who are trained to operate their own vehicles. Surely the cyclist is the liability on the road as most have never seen the highway code?

    It's hard to know peoples experience of cycling as well, which would contribute to their case in court. I can't say to someone that i've been riding for 5 years, because is that every day? for how long? in what terrain, who taught me, my dad? You can say the same for cars as well but at least cars and motorbikes can say 'I passed my test in 2001, had 15 lessons, with training by a qualified instructor from the AA or BSM and the test centre instructor approved that I reached the standards on that day.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The relative weights are the reason you need training and a licence. A car is much more dangerous in untrained hands than a bike, both to the operator and other road users.

      I also don't think the problem with people running red lights etc is that they don't know it's wrong, they just don't care. I would think most people who start riding, or especially who come back to cycling later in life, can already drive and know the rules. I also think that people are more likely to break rules when they start, and then as they gain experience and realise the impact to their safety of the negative perception rule-breaking creates, tend to behave better.

      Delete
  32. Er... why can't we all just get along?

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  33. I once got stuck behind two parents and their children riding two-abreast through Llandaf and Whitchurch. We must have gone five miles and the tailback was huge because it was impossible to overtake safely - whereas it would have been perfectly safe to overtake a single column. I'm a qualified driving instructor, by the way The illustration used here is a HUGE fallacy - When overtaking a single column of cyclists on a city street, it is rarely necessary to move entirely into the oncoming traffic lane; you only need to leave enough space that if the cyclist was to literally fall sideways towards your vehicle, they wouldn't hit your car on the way down - Usually about five feet. The picture is self-evidently stupid: There is a minimum safe distance for overtaking cyclists, and either the left hand diagram shows a car far exceeding it or the right hand diagram shows a car leaving far too little. Actually I suspect both are true. City streets do not have enough space for the second diagram to be a realistic option, and to be honest as somebody who both cycles and drives, I am well aware that drivers often despise cyclists quite enough already without this kind of silliness pissing them off even more. This is a silly article that attempts to justify something which has no real justification beyond "because it's what we like to do". Well whoopee.- I cycle on roads for pleasure, but I also drive on roads for work, and I know which is more important.

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    1. You're a driving instructor? Hmmm.
      If you look at the Highway Code website and my Overtaking page, you'll see how they suggest you overtake cyclists. Yes, the diagrams are a bit simplistic, they were done in paint!
      How much room do you think you should leave?
      I'll copy my reply from above again:
      "@jogger - I do agree with the others, I'm not sure how you think it's safe to overtake a cyclist single file if there is traffic coming the other way but I think it's a common misconception that a lot of motorists have unfortunately. I think the current guidance for cycling on the gov website says you should cycle a metre away from the curb or in the centre of the left lane. If that's true, and a rough average for a cyclist's width is 0.5 metres, the average road width is 3.5 meters and the average car width is 1.85 metres, that only leaves 0.15 metres gap between the car and the cyclist without the car going on the other side of the road, I'm not sure that many would classify that as "enough space". If there was a pot hole or drain cover, or the wind blew and move the cyclist slightly, there would not really be any room for manoeuvre."
      I'm not sure how you think you can overtake a single cyclist safely without going on the other side of the road, I really hope you don't show any of you students how you do it.

      Delete
  34. If a cyclist , or group of , happens to behave maybe a little inconsiderately, it might lead to to some minor annoyance.
    If any other road user behaves inconsiderately towards cyclists
    , it could very easily lead to serious injury or death.
    We are not some species apart .

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  35. Incidentally: "You should never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends" - In other words, only ride two abreast where the road is wide enough and quiet enough to allow overtaking when you do. The rule unambiguously states that you should ride single-file on busy roads and narrow roads, yet you're trying to use it to justify the exact opposite position. That's actually absurd.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are trying to be pedantic, I'll repeat what I said earlier, the rule is starting from a point of riding two or more abreast, and tells you not to ride more than two, and to go single file when necessary. I think that contradicts your opinion and actually states, ride two abreast, apart from on narrow roads, busy roads or round bends.

      Delete
  36. This states: "Why do motorists get annoyed by cyclists two abreast?", and then presumably, deliberately omits the real reason motorists get annoyed - because cycles are frequently/usually travelling far slower than the average speed of non-cycle traffic, especially outside urban areas.

    If we're going to start quoting book, here's another:

    Highway Code, rule 169.
    Do not hold up a long queue of traffic, especially if you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently, and if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass.

    In 25 years of driving I have NEVER ONCE seen a cyclist/group of cyclists actively pull over to let a tailback of incredibly frustrated traffic past.
    This sends out a message of in difference, superiority and arrogance, which is not lost on other road users.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You must be seeing the wrong cyclists because pretty much every morning I try my best to find spots to allow school buses and lorries to pass, in fact they often beep and wave in a friendly manner because its usually the same drivers i have built rapport with.

      Delete
    2. In 25 years of driving you have learnt to overtake safely I presume? Try that next time you see some human beings out cycling on the road.
      Don't get worked up about being delayed by a few seconds, or having to make some minor hand/feet movements required to make you vehicle overtake. It's not good for you health fella.

      I'm also very surprised you've never seen cyclists go from 2 abreast to single file? I'm forced to do this multiple times everytime I'm out cycling on country lanes, even stopping on steep ascents to let cars pass, which as a cyclist is the LAST thing you want to do when climbing a hill you want to get on and finish.

      I totally accept your quote from the highway code, but to be honest number 66 suggests pretty much the same thing. Cyclists know to let faster vechicles pass if they're going to hold them up for a significant amount of time, you don't need a law for that it's common sense.

      Delete
  37. The main issue with it all is pretty much speed. Most drivers feel cyclists are holding them up when riding along on what they see as their roads (which all who know the Highway code or the LAW, know is untrue, a cyclist by LAW has more right of way on a road than a motorist, bicycles were on the roads before cars were even invented)

    The amount of time actually held up by cyclists is only seconds rather than minutes till a safe overtake is possible. The increase in speed after negotiating the way around a cyclist usually results in this small amount of lost time being made, furthermore its very common for the motorist having to slow again to the speed of other road users in front of the two abreast cyclists. The NET loss in time ZERO, patience is all it boils down too, the impatience of these drivers is more of a issue on roads and is the probably cause of far more incidents than a slow cyclist, I bet these same drivers find being behind a tractor or someone doing the actual speed limit is aggravating to them too.

    Cyclist please continue to ride two a breast its safe, annoyed drivers please find some patience, slow down and help make our roads safer for all that use them!!

    Dan Smith

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    Replies
    1. You just advised your readers to break rule 66 of the Highway Code, which states the exact opposite of what you're using it to justify. You, sir, are a dogmatic fool.

      Delete
    2. "a cyclist by LAW has more right of way on a road than a motorist" - Literally the most retarded thing I've ever seen somebody say in this endlessly repeating them vs. us discussion. by "LAW" there is no such thing as "right of way" - It's a bullshit phrase used by people who don't know what they're talking about. What ACTUALLY exists is "assumed priority", and it's not codified in law, it's set out as the standard rule set which is taught to motor vehicle drivers for deciding which vehicle should (you guessed it) assume priority. And here's the thing: Every road using vehicle is treated exactly the same. If I'm cycling towards your Land Rover and have to move into your lane to pass a parked car, then you assume priority. If you're pulling a car out from the minor road into the major road at a T-junction whilst I'm cycling along the major road, then I assume priority. Doesn't matter what vehicle each of us is using, the rules are the same.

      Delete
    3. @Custador - if you read Dan's post properly, the Rule 66 properly and read your own posts, it's clear to see he doesn't come off as a fool.

      Delete
  38. Replies
    1. Pay for a better education, letting the human race down here.

      Delete
    2. You didn't really just say that did you ?

      Delete
    3. Same old...
      No one pays road tax

      http://ipayroadtax.com/

      Delete
  39. Just to put a small amount of perspective on this forum. I drive a truck,car,motorbike and commute on a cycle to work. I aalso ride horses.
    The later 2 forms of transport were originally on the roads long before motorised transport. To that end if everyone gave a little more thought to all other road users a happier traveller we all would be.......

    ReplyDelete
  40. Fixed your stupid diagram for you:

    http://static.dyp.im/D8NKmydqEF/large/30228423a780c44f3140b39b25a69e7a.PNG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like mine better, the cyclists don't have to ride in the gutter. Thanks though

      Delete
    2. You criticised the original image because it showed the car in the right hand diagram was giving too little space (despite it being about the concept and not to scale) and then you "fix" it by showing a car leaving even less space when overtaking the single file line of cyclists and less again between them and the oncoming car?

      In your diagram, what happens if the lead cyclist in the single file line needs to swerve to avoid a hazard? Your version seems to clearly show why riding two abreast on a road like this is safer for cyclists, so I suppose in that sense it is "fixed".


      Delete
  41. I don't think it's got much to do with 'the law' it has more to do with manners & consideration for other road users... 99% of cyclists (the lycra wearers that go out in packs!) are selfish w4nkers compared 90% of car drivers, 75% of bus drivers, 50% of truck drivers & around 20% of motorcyclists. Incidentally cyclists are not the worst group, that honour belongs to tractor drivers as 100% of them couldn't give a fack about anybody irrespective of the law!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good stats, care to offer a source? You definitely come across with an abundance of manners and consideration.

      Delete
    2. Just my personal observations based on owning/driving a van, car, 4x4, motorcycle and driving an articulated truck covering around 50,000 miles a year, I also do a few motorcycle trackdays and cycle around the local (rural) area that I live whenever I get the chance.
      I am not suggesting in any way that I’m the perfect driver (far from it!) but am merely stating that ‘pack’ lycra wearers are among the most inconsiderate, self righteous, ill mannered road users that I encounter on my travels!
      Incidentally the one group that I failed to mention is white van drivers... They are in third spot at approximately 95% being selfish w4nkers.
      Finally... Your pompous reply to my semi-tongue in cheek comment completely backs up my observation about cyclists being self righteous arseholes and Custador’s diagram is far better than yours!

      Delete
  42. Until all road users have to abide by similar and or appropriate rules, costs, licenses, training, safety conditions, then this debate will continue.
    Cyclists take no theory or practical tests, pay no road licence (ok, they may have a car too but if I have two vehicles I pay two licences), no MOT, no enforcement on poor night lighting or inappropriate cycling wear.
    It could be argued that cyclists need stricter rules to protect them and pedestrians as they use roads, cycle paths and pavements.



    Until cyclists and authorities have the courage to accept and address these issues, then the arguments will continue.

    Neil.

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    1. I agree cycling training should be given at school but are you suggesting that children should have to have all of those things?
      I have a driving license so have passed the tests, I have a car, am I more worthy to be on the road than another cyclist? If bikes were to be included in VED, they would be exempt as they don't emit anything. I think you may need to accept that motorised forms of transport are treated slightly differently as they are different, they pollute the air and cause damage to the road, plus they cause a lot more damage to people and property than bikes do.
      Bikes should have lights on in the dark though - I agree, but until drivers understand how to deal with cyclists and see bikes as equal on the road, I think these arguments will continue.

      Delete
  43. If you want to drive on public roads in a car, van, lorry motorbike etc you have to take stringent tests and get yourself insured to be able to do so. If you want to drive a bicycle on the same road you dont need any qualifications of any description, not even insurance and you can do it at any age (maybe even 5 years old upwards). Shouldn't there be some sort of test and insurance

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    Replies
    1. Please read the comments above. Many cyclists are insured, it is very cheap, even free, because the insurers rarely have to pay out. If it was compulsory it would cost far more to administer and enforce than would be paid out. Also the least responsible cyclists who are the most likely to cause collisions would be the least likely to get insurance - as we see with drivers.

      Riding a 10kg bike at 20mph does not pose the same danger to the operator or other road users as a 2 tonne+ lump of metal that can do 100mph. That is why it is should be expected that the tests would be more stringent for motor vehicles, and in my opinion should need to be refreshed every 5 years.

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  44. The fella who wrote this is another typical anti car lycra wearing loon who needs to remind us all that cyclists own the roads of Britain and we should be grateful to be allowed to share!!
    The Highway code he quotes is quite easy to follow and basically means most A roads are not suitable for cycling two abreast at 10MPH on a road with vehicles doing near 60MPH, and not around corners.
    Why 'certain' cyclists seem to interpretate the law to their own design is both funny and ignorant, claiming it's done for safety as well??

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    1. I drive a car. I own the road as much as you do. Not sure what your point is?
      I don't cycle on A roads at 10mph with vehciles doing near 60mph.
      I'm not interpreting any laws to my own design, I'm explaining why cyclists ride in 2 files and that it's not illegal.

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  45. I've been cycling for over 30 years. Commuting and racing. I ride about 10k miles a year these days. I also have a 170hp car, great for overtaking. As a cyclist it's important to 'claim' the road, for defensive reasons. To control the motorists behind and on club runs the cyclists decide when to single and thereby decide when to allow the motorist to pass. 9 times out of 10, the motorist 'gets it' and follows the simple etiquette. It works better on Sundays than busy Saturdays, for obvious to the retail park rush home for the match' type reasons. It's about mutual respect and patience. The rest is nothing more than arrogance, impatience or downright bloody mindedness. In Britain we are behind the rest of Europe on this one. In the 70s bikes were regarded as nothing more than 'toys'. It's been taking years for us to catch up with the rest of the world. Now cycling is the fastest growing sport in the UK. We all need to behave more responsibility, show some respect for one another and stop playing self serving law enforcers, cyclists and motorists alike.

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    1. Despite your attempt to appear impartial, you actually represent most of what is wrong on both sides on the car v cycle v motorbike debate.

      These phrases in particular serve only to widen the gap in opinion...
      1) "As a cyclist it's important to 'claim' the road, for defensive reasons". - Pull over/stop for defensive reasons I recommend.
      2) "To control the motorists behind" - Excuse me???
      3) "Thereby decide when to allow the motorist to pass" - Incredible conceit and arrogance. How about accepting that you may be spoiling a car driver's day out too?
      4) "9 times out of 10, the motorist 'gets it'" - How generous of you to concede as much!
      5) "follows the simple etiquette" - You've shown no etiquette at all so far in your statement, just bias and blinkered thinking.
      6) "It's about mutual respect and patience" - It's all one one in your view...read yourself back.
      7) "nothing more than arrogance, impatience or downright bloody mindedness" - What happened to your simple etiquette?
      8) In Britain we are behind the rest of Europe on this one - Of course we are behind...55 million people into a space the 1/3 of the size of France is not conducive to free roads and space for everyone.
      9) "Now cycling is the fastest growing sport in the UK" - Great, let's enjoy the sport, but please don't use that as an argument against drivers or for cyclists, they are entirely different points.
      10) "Show some respect for one another" - I appreciate the sentiment but you have only represented one side.

      I cycle and drive a car. When I cycle I am very much aware that I am 'in the way', especially at junctions and roundabouts, and my riding reflects this. I stop when necessary and appropriate as to try not to create traffic problems of cars partially leaving lanes when approaching a junction.
      My safety and the safety of all road users is my priority.

      Neil.

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  46. Having trawled through through most of the above, i think we can all agree there are dickhead cyclists and dickhead motorists. However, most of us are very polite, obliging road users (thankfully).

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  47. selective interpretation of the highway code there at best.... nowhere does it state you should cross the white line in the centre of the road to overtake cyclists, and I'd be real careful about demanding the same room that cars get when overtaken too, as you only have to give them the distance of the door opening at best.

    Why cycling 'bodies' and organisations are going out of their way to draw attention to themselves with these unfounded and somewhat hypocritical fabrications of road traffic laws is beyond me. One minute they want a car width space when overtaken, the next it's fine if it's under half that if they're two abreast? In what logic does it make sense to give a cyclist half as much space when they're beside another moving cyclist that often weaving to avoid drains in the road? Add to that they'll happily overtake (usually undertake infact) cars with next to no space if it's the cars moving slowly or stationary, but when roles are reversed suddenly they need meters rather than milimeters to make it acceptable? You just can't have it all your own way I'm afraid, the world doesn't work like that!

    In a perfect world, everyone that uses the roads would show everyone else an acceptable level of courtesy and consideration, unfortunately the world is not perfect. I drive lorries, vans, cars and ride motorbikes and cycle too. I judge everyone as an individual and treat them accordingly. There's idiots in every single category of road user, no denying it, but cyclists are the most vunerable, and the more attention you bring to yourselves for the wrong reasons, the less consideration you're likely to get from the majority of road users.

    The above? Far from good advice and definitely nowhere near accurate. If you lack the common sense to know when it is and isn't a good idea to ride two abreast, and fail to show the courtesy of dropping into single file when cars are approaching from behind when you do so, you can't expect those cars to show you much courtesy in return. I can't say every driver is the same, but I'll happily slow down and be patient while a line of double cyclists filters single file, and I'll give them a decent amount of room when I pass them... and if traffic means they catch up again, I'll move over and give them room again to pass easily. Stay two abreast for no other reason than you read crap like this and believe you're entitled to regardless?? You're going to stop in the line of traffic that I stop in. Bloody minded ness is a two way street ;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Have you read the Highway Code? "give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 213 and 214 to 215)." (http://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/overtaking-162-to-169)

      Delete
    2. @Ragged - he obviously hasn't, although there is reference to it on my Overtaking page as well as the Highway Code picture showing a car overtaking a cyclist on the other side of the road.

      @Dave - it's not the same distance as when overtaking a car, it's the same space or room, it's different.

      Delete
    3. @Ragged....no you're right, I passed 4 driving examinations, 1 riding examination and 1 theory test without every reading the highway code. You question what I say and then paste a quote that's the same as what I said? I don't agree that the highway code is right, I think it's wrong to pass a horse as closely as you'll pass a car, a horse is unarguably more unpredictable than a stationary car is. Yet both should be granted the same distance. Yet if it makes you feel happy, we'll pass you all with enough space to miss a cars wing mirrors with ours?

      @Simon.... what? In this context, how is distance different to space or room?

      Delete
    4. Please don't tell me you're trying to interpret the highway code to state that cyclists should be passed as if they were the same size as a car and taking up the same amount of space? That's some really far fetched imagination if you are? To highlight the point, lets take into account the type approved and recommended for CHILDREN riding to school, safety arms.... fold out arms that are fitted to cycles to ensure cars give them adequate space when passing. They are 31cm long (I guessed a foot, I went to check to be sure). So the highways themselves marketed a product for CHILDREN on the roads to encourage motorists to pass them with at least a foot to spare.... yet YOU somehow believe that what they actually meant was the width of a car? Good luck getting that type approved!!

      There is no way on this planet anyone with half a brain cell can actually believe that's what's meant, not matter how far from reality you twist the wording to suit your own agenda

      Delete
  48. and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads

    Most roads are busy according to my definition - perhaps cyclists define "busy" differently!!

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    1. If most roads are busy, then your definition of busy should change really. If busy is normal, your definition of busy should change to busier than normal.
      Your default position should be that most roads are normal, not most roads are busy.

      Delete
  49. Just a quick comment to say in my experience of cycling through Edinburgh every day to work I found the days that I took my road bike while wearing high-viz and helmet to be the worst with most vehicles cutting me up, over taking too closely and at one point throwing litter at me but the days after my bike was stolen and I resorted to riding my bmx my experience was much better. While trundling through town somewhat uncomfortably on a wee bmx with the stereotypical 'hoodie' on I was avoided like the plague! People gave me room and were considerate (or scared). I find it slightly disheartening that looking like a teenage 'thug' was the only way to receive proper consideration on the road even if it was a by product of people being worried to come to close to me. I am a car, motorbike and bicycle person and try my best to give everyone on the road the care they deserve and when I'm not sure what their motivations are I try out their form of transport. Needless to say at times on the road I make mistakes whether riding bicycle or motorbike or when driving which is maybe why I'm forgiving of others when they do the same.

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  50. Picking my Wife up from Work 3 Mornings every week for 2 Years, there was a Polish Cyclist on his way to Work every Day at the Carwash If I left earlier he was there, if I left later he was there. 3 Mile section of 2 track Road of 3 Miles with no way to pass him as all the Traffic was going in the opposite way going to work and it was Bumper to Bumper. Now that is so frustrating.

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  51. It's also legal for some people to drive sheep up some city hight streets. It doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea!

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  52. Just to correct a comment above "Roads were built for horses not cyclists"... no they weren't, they were lobbied for, paid for and built for cyclists... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2011/aug/15/cyclists-paved-way-for-roads

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  53. obviously a cyclist writer as you have clearly edited this blog to suit your self the important part you have left out when you quoted rule 66 is that cyclists should not ride two abreast on bends which im afraid covers the majority of uk roads how many time have i come across cyclists holding up a queues of traffic on country roads do they know that when the are approaching going through or leaving bends they should be in single file it appears not and you are clearly helping the matter by editing the law to suit yourselves.
    an addition if you are going to start quoting the rule book maybe you should take a look at rule 60 rear red reflectors compulsory once cyclists put the light on they think the reflector can be removed not the case it would seem.
    next point i am coming in a country road see a flashing light up ahead is it the law or emergency services no it is a cyclist clearly flaunting the law by using a flashing light in an area without street lighting recommended here is a steady front lamp.
    so if we are going to quote the law let us not edit it to suit ourselves but read and understand it fully an realize it will not cover all situations because idiots like to go places to all included cyclists motorists and pedestrians.


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    Replies
    1. Barry, the key words are should not. It does not say MUST NOT. So it's not a legal requirement, it's just advisory. So, if you are going to quote the law, take your own advice, read and understand it fully and don't edit it to suit yourself!!

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    2. I absolutely agree about rear reflectors, but you're incorrect about flashing lights. The Highway Code recommends a steady light where there is no street lighting as per rule 60, but the underlying Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations as amended in 2005 which constitute the law don't have any such requirement.

      In reality, if a typical road has plenty of traffic coming the other way, you will not be able to overtake a cyclist safely anyway because you cannot give them enough room. Only on wide roads can you pass a cyclist without crossing the centre line.

      We might as well travel two abreast for all the difference it will make, and when you do get a safe gap, you will be able to pass them more quickly.

      There is one thing I want to pick up on, and that is to note that the Highway Code is not solely used for the apportionment of blame. Breaching the Highway Code can also be used as evidence of Careless Driving or Careless cycling etc.

      For the record, I'm primarily a car driver, with a long history of being a cyclist. Last day I was out on the bike I encountered nothing but consideration from all vehicle drivers, who without exception waited patiently and quietly behind me, and then left me plenty of room when they were able to pass. That could have been in return for using hand signals and obeying red traffic lights, of course.

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    3. @Barry - Actually, when I wrote this, it didn't say anything about bends, sorry, I'll update it soon.

      You are making massive assumptions, do you know that I don't have reflectors on my bike? Or that I just use flashing lights? I have not set out to write down every law or rule relating to cycling, the Highway Code does that, I've simply tried to explain why cyclists ride two abreast, and that it is not against the law.

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  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends
      NEVER i dont write the rules north ender

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    2. Again, it's a recommendation. If a cyclist directly causes an collision while cycling two abreast on a busy road, they are liable and may be prosecuted for careless cycling, but it's not an offence in and of itself.

      If cyclists are travelling two abreast and somebody else has a collision due to overtaking dangerously, it will be the other person's fault.

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  55. what about the rule that cyclist must be visible at night, when 90% of them in my area don't use lights or wear high vis clothing....

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    1. Can't defend the lack of lights, and I make a point of using hi-vis clothing for my own safety even though I'm not required to have it, but what about those who do have and use lights?

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    2. Again, I agree, cyclists should wear lights at night.

      Again, this doesn't have anything to do with my blog, it was explaining riding in two files and that it wasn't illegal.

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  56. Just because something is legal does it mean it's correct or safe? That's the problem with most humans, they permit others to make decisions and judgement for them, as opposed to thinking for themselves. Ride double, ask for trouble.

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    1. The point is that all other things being equal, you won't be able to pass cyclists travelling in single file without straddling the centre line anyway except on very wide roads.

      In reality, the correct place for any cyclist on a road without a cycle lane or where the cycle lane is full of parked cars is left of centre within the lane, probably about a metre out, and there simply will not be room to squeeze a car between them and the centre line.

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    2. Again, it's not just because it's legal, it's for the reason actually mentioned above and again by Andy.

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    3. @andy actually from when i did my cycling proficiency the correct place is just over 1 ft from the curb (just over 30cm) ie just past where the drain is, NOT the centre of the road. and in the case where there are parked cars, you should only be leaving enough room for the car door to open, after safely checking behind and signalling prior to moving out. if it is not safe, you do not move out. you wait until it is safe. the only time you should ever be any further out in the road is if you are turning right. besides anything else it is inconsiderate which to quote rule 68 you MUST NOT ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner (i draw attention to inconsiderate. this means to everyone) i am a non driving cyclist

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  57. Just to wind horse riders up, what the hell are they playing at trotting down a busy A roads especially on a Saturday . Makes you want to beep your horn, but clearly the horse doesn't need the stress.

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    1. Because most of the people riding them have day jobs which mean they don't have time during the week.

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  58. Paul Meynell I guess this tells us everything we need to know about cyclists , first they don't know what "busy road" means and second they can't count ,as the group around here regularly ride 4 abreast.
    A few seconds ago · Like

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  59. I know this is a difficult idea to grasp, but that person who ended up in a body bag in Aldgate wasn't the same person that you saw being an idiot on a bike in Kensington.

    If cyclists are all to be judged on that one person who annoyed you this morning on your daily commute, then it seems only fair to do the same back.

    Drivers are all speeding lunatics who change lanes without indicating, thrusting their un-taxed, uninsured motor around the road while talking on their mobile phones, blaring out the Radio One Breakfast Show at unbearable volumes and smoking out of the window. Oh, and you can't pass a woman without leaning out and shouting 'oi oiiii larvely! Fancy a shag?' and beeping your horn incessantly.

    Put like that, those cyclists don't seem so bad, do they?

    So, by all means, let's have a debate about cyclists and why they keep dying. But let's all make a gentleman's agreement to stop using these tired, ridiculous old arguments, yeah?

    Failing that, just be nice. Someone just died, and it could have been someone you love.

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  60. Leda Rodrigues19 November 2013 09:50

    I find so funny people comparing bicycle and cars. The blog owner talking about chatting while cycling, because people chatting while driving a car!! Don't forget that bikes is more vulnerable than cars, also the road is made for cars and not for bikes, when these two mixes together we have to obey not just the rules, but THE COMMON SENSE!! Pedaling side by side and chatting while people queue behind you late to work or late to pick up children from school is not a common sense at all. While you drive a bike you have to pay attention to the road for your life sake and the same rule apply for cars


    Says it all really...

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  61. Interesting how this discussion has filled up so quickly! Haven't read it all but got a general jist. One of the problems I encounter on my (cycling) commute to work is that there are a lot of two merging into one lane traffic lights. If I am the first person to the lights which are on red, the next car to arrive will park itself literally a couple of feet to my right - presumably because they think they will be quicker off the lights than me (rarely the case). My problem though is that cyclists can and do wobble when they set off - I am particularly guilty of this, especially getting my clips into position when setting off.

    So for me, it is actually safer for me to cross with the pedestrian green man light and get ahead of the dangerous cars, or to linger expectantly in front of the cars and anticipate the lights changing.

    What car drivers must realise is that they are driving weapons that they must take responsibility for, because they can, do and will kill people.

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    1. So it's ok for you to get in the way of pedestrians? I agree drivers should take responsibility but it doesn't absolve cyclists of the same. Reckless cycling can cause accidents that also hurt people, cause crashes etc... No one is denying cars are more powerful/dangerous but why does that mean cyclists shouldn't take responsibility too?

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  62. whatalottacomments .. good someone's taking the time to write, but you've missed the reason I put the frustration down to - drivers think cyclists don't give a sh*T. that's what i think when riders know you're behind in a car, but choose not to acknowledge you or move to make things easier. i have my own a moment of rider rage! r-e-s-p-e-c-t remains my guiding 'rule'.

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  63. All the cyclists here are complaining that they get tarred with the same brush as the knobs who swerve, don't stop at reds/use the pavement etc... BUT you are all doing the exact same thing to drivers. Assuming we are all the same. Can't you acknowledge that there is a proportion of cyclists who are reckless. I can admit a proportion of drivers are. The way cyclists just attack all drivers then get upset if anyone says anything negative about cyclists is why people don't listen. Every time someone here has raised an instance of bad cycling they have been lambasted by the cyclists. It's childish. Stop being so defensive and patronizing and we might have a proper conversation. You keep moaning about 'tired old arguments' from drivers but they keep getting used because you refuse to acknowledge cyclists are ever at fault. Just because there are good cyclists doesn't mean there aren't bad ones. Stop having a go at people who point that out as part of the problem - it doesn't absolve drivers but it is part of the wider issue. You can't just ignore it.
    Cyclists should be made to get insurance and do a proficiency test. I'm not sure how you can suggest they shouldn't.

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  64. I cycle and drive a couple of cars - I love both. When I am driving I always wait and take a wide pass. This is because I cycle, I know what it is like. The majority of drivers do not so they have no idea. So many drivers feel their lives are so important that waiting 20 seconds to overtake safely is beneath them. I have also seen a number of mad commuter cyclists in London acting like they are crazy but I have never seen behave like that on a club ride - the members of the club just wouldn't allow it...

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  65. I am a cyclist. We should be made to sit a test , have insurance, have our bikes mot tested and pay a nominal road tax and face penalties for bad cycling the same way as any other road user. Many cyclists don't know the road rules. This would leave us no excuses and put us on a level footing with other uses and give the anti cycling brigade a lot less to moan about.

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  66. Let's face it, we are tribal by nature and have several distinct groups using the same facility ie the road. No Road user can honestly say that they are not inconvenienced in some way or annoyed by other road users never mind what there mode of transport. I ride and drive which I think makes me more aware of cyclists but they still annoy me when I'm driving by sometimes being inconsiderate. When on a bike I am avoiding the road when possible, when I'm forced on to the road I am generally in fear for my life and at times I'm on the pavement regardless of the law. I think separation is the only answer together with better education for all groups .

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  67. That diagram actually doesn't make sense, so overtaking single file, the car is in that overtaking position giving plenty of space to the cyclists, yet overtaking double file of cyclists, the car is shown in exactly the same position , so giving LESS room to the cyclists. Explain that one Einstein !
    Now overtaking single file, if an oncoming vehicle starts approaching the oncoming vehicle will usually have space to move in towards their roadside more so giving the overtaking vehicle still enough space (granted cyclist might not consider it enough space) to carry on the overtake safely providing everyone sticks to their road area , now if overtaking double file cyclists, surely , despite that diagram suggesting otherwise, the overtaking vehicle would actually have to be even further out , so as vehicles could be travelling at 50 in both directions that 100 mph closing speed so when a vehicles driver determines it is safe to overtake, it may well have been safe as far as they were able to see , but on getting out there to overtake and maybe taking the first pair of cyclists, theres now an oncoming vehicle and because the cyclists are double file, the overtaking vehicle is further out, the oncoming vehicle although moving over cannot move over far enough, tell me given a choice between head on into another hard vehicle or moving in towards a double file of cyclists, who is going to stay out and take the head on ? Nobody.
    Now cyclists will say 'well then it wasn't safe to overtake was it', but it could well have been when the decision was made and the initial action was taken.
    Its not always that simple or that black and white, things change and rapidly on roads, whether 20 or 60 zones and IMO cyclists and drivers also need to read the road and traffic and change their styles accordingly as a great many do . I mean I see cyclists double file and they go to single for periods to help out other road users, then back to double when the situation allows, same as I see drivers doing things to assist cyclists, it really IS THAT simple, read the road and act accordingly , and that's for all of us.

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    1. re above, remember it is in EVERYONES interests that everyone involved in a scenario makes it as easy for everyone to continue their journey safely, so in a situation like the one mentioned above, if the two vehicle drivers have to take some action then so does the cyclist, everyone has to deal with what happens, accept that OK someone got things a bit wrong ,misjudgement, unfortunate turn of events, whatever, the fact is everyone has to deal with it and take the necessary course of action(s) to ensure as much as possible safe transit for all parties. The same as the vehicle drivers wouldn't just drive into each other, the cyclist would also be expected to take some avoiding action to help the situation out, and whilst thy might understandably think 'well it wasn't my doing ' and they'd be right, it's still everyones responsibility to do what it takes to alleviate the dangerous situation.

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    2. Don't get hung up on the scale of the diagram. The left hand side of the diagram is similar to the picture used to illustrate Rule 163 in the Highway Code (https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/overtaking-162-to-169) and shows the driver giving the cyclists MORE THAN enough safety room. The right hand side shows the driver giving the double ranked cyclists enough safety room and having to travel half the distance in the opposite lane to complete the manoeuvre than in the single file picture. That is the point of this post - riding two abreast in the appropriate times and locations makes it easier for responsible drivers to overtake.

      How on Earth do you consider the overtake in your example to be safe at the time it was made? If an oncoming vehicle has to move over to make the overtake safe then the overtaking driver is not driving safely! "Safe as far as they were able to see?" If they can't see far enough ahead to be 100% certain it was safe then they should just wait until they can. This is the duty of car road users have to other road users.


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  68. Riding two abreast is basically selfish. It might be perfectly legal, but that's irrelevant. Many dreadful practices on the road are legal, and it's that argument which I hear trolled out from appalling drivers all the time.

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    1. Overtaking without leaving a safe distance to get to the next traffic queue a few seconds earlier is selfish. Assuming that drivers are considerate (as the majority are) and won't do this, riding two abreast makes the distance they need to be across the white line to overtake shorter, and so they will find a safe time and place to overtake safely earlier. A single-file line means that the opposite side of the road has to be clear for at least twice as far.

      On a wider road when cars can leave enough room (1.5m is the Euro standard I believe) to overtake a single-file line while staying in the same lane, then it would be selfish to ride two abreast and riders should single out.

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  69. I think generally there is a lack of due care and attention to all fellow road users, from cyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers, buses and lorry drivers (and any random vehicle you can mention!). Generally we should all take responsibility for our own actions and the actions of others. By driving two a breast cyclists are not giving consideration to other drivers,. Car drivers who feel they own the road, should remember when you hit something the other party comes off worse (unless its a lorry or a bus!) and would you want the knowledge of disabling or killing someone on your hands!?

    My suggestion, license cycles (not tax, but registration, with larger penalties if you are caught riding someone else's bike!), so that if someone on a bike is breaking the law they can be reported, like every other road user...there should be no exception! Money gain from any revenue for licensing should be used to pay for developing good cycling road systems (that aren't some half-hearted attempt by the council to paint something on a bit of road that a cyclist will never use, but shows that at least they are doing something....pointless!). That way the argument can never be used oby any other road user that cyclists do not have the right to be on the road. As an additional (optional extra), cyclists should take a test to use the road i.e. so they know the highway code correctly. Yes I agree a lot of regular cyclists and enthusiasts are also car drivers or something similar, but the ones every body hates are the regular and casual cyclist who jumps the lights, cycles on paths designated for pedestrians only, etc and it is those people who need to know the rules of the road (even if they are already a car, motorcycle, etc!).

    Just for the record I am a car driver, motorcycle driver, a cyclist (when I have the time!) and a roller skater! I use the roads, the paths and the dirt tracks. I have been in two accidents, one where I rolled a car on a dirt road (definitely my fault!) and one where a car driver pulled out on me as I was over taking a lane of stationary traffic whilst on my scooter (most definitely not my fault!). I have seen the roads from every perspective and the simple fact

    EVERYONE NEEDS TO GIVE CONSIDERATION TO EVERYONE - NO EXCEPTIONS - SO THAT MEANS CAR DRIVERS, CYCLISTS, MOTORCYCLISTS, ROLLER SKATERS, PEDESTRIANS, DOGS, CATS, FLEAS, ETC!

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  70. Great blog.
    Great debate too.

    NB. The license duty was originally brought in to allow motor vehicles the privilege of using the roads.

    BTW I'm a cyclist, own 3 cars covering an average of 15,000 miles pa, and use motorcycles in my business.

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